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Main & Danforth (Gerrard East) restaurants?

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  • Apple Aug 19, 2007 07:27 PM

I am thinking about moving into the neighborhood and being a downtown girl - I actually don't know much about this neighborhood.

Are there are good neighborhood places to eat of various price ranges? Would love to know!

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  1. Well, I live a little west of that area, so I am not really familiar with the places that are at your doorstep, but there are several adjacent neighbourhoods that offer some great food exploration.
    Of course, you are an easy subway ride to any of the great food on the Danforth - not only Greek, but a number of different cuisines. You would be a stroll away from Rendez Vous, an Ethiopian place on the Danforth, for example.
    You can also easily hop on the 506 streetcar and ride west to little India - you will find numerous threads on the subject of good Indian food in the area. You could stay on the streetcar a little longer and ride over to "the best French food in Chinatown" at Batifole (Gerrard just west of Logan) for something more upscale. Search this board and you will find numerous recs for Batifole; I haven't tried it yet, but it is high on my list. A little further east on the streetcar and you will hit "Chinatown east" at Gerrard and Broadview, which has many cheap eats. I've only eaten at a few places there, but it is a great area to grab a Chinese bun or some Vietnamese food - there are a couple popular Pho places along the stretch (Mimi's and the new Pho Bo Tay (close to Batifole)), and Hanoi 3 Seasons is usually pretty good.
    South of you is the Beach, which has a dearth of good food according to many post on this board, but which seems to be improving, notably with ViVetha, a relatively new place near Victoria Park and Queen Street East. Not a very short walk from your area, but not a terribly long one either, and a pleasant one, especially if you wander down along Glen Stewart Park.
    The dining all along Queen Street is improving, and you can take the bus south to Queen and then hop on the 501 to explore the options in Leslieville and in the Broadview/Queen area. There are lots of suggestions for those areas on the boards.
    Hope that helps a little - hopefully someone in your neighbourhood will come up with some suggestions even closer to home.
    Cheers.

    1. If you walk north from Gerrard St. over the Main Street bridge and go west on Danforth Ave., north side, after a couple of blocks you'll reach Mika Japanese restaurant at 2750 Danforth E. Good Japanese food, a choice of standard tables or lower ones, good service. Their number is (416) 698-0283. That's the closest Japanese restaurant to where you live. There are also a number of them along Queen Street East in the Beaches, a short bus ride down Main Street. Our favourite is Yumei Sushi at 2116 Queen St East (north side), phone (416) 698-7705. They have a small private alcove at the back for 5 or 6 diners, but you need to reserve. In fact its a good idea anyway.

      1. Haven't been myself yet but I're heard from more than one local that Cool Runnings Jamaican restaurant on Main just south of Gerrard is worth checking out. And it looks like there's a new Jamaican juice bar opening up just a few doors down (where that grill/bar used to be).

        -----
        Cool Runnings
        146 Main St, Toronto, ON M4E2V8, CA

        2 Replies
        1. re: JamieK

          I've eaten at Cool Runnings and it was pretty decent. Going up to the Danforth helps. There are some nice spots down on Kingston Rd. too (10-15 min walk): Corvina's for hungarian; My Farmer's Daughter has great to-go meals; Feathers pub has decent food & a great single-malt collection. But right at Main/Gerrard there isn't a whole lot. The fish & chips are ok at Bill's but the place itself is a bit sketchy (and there's better up on the Danforth across from Canadian Tire, although I forget the name).

          1. re: Shandra

            The fish & chips place across from Canadian Tire is Duckworth's, which is okay but not great, according to other posts on this board. Might be worth it to go over to Dundas and Coxwell for F&C at British Style Fish & Chips, which has received many positive reviews on this board and elsewhere (Star, CBC Metro Morning, etc.)

            -----
            Duckworth's
            2638 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C1L7, CA

            British Style
            73 Coxwell Ave, Toronto, ON M4L3B1, CA

        2. There's Basil's Thai Kitchen, on the north side of the Danforth, just east of the ever-expanding Toronto Honda. But if you want real, never-going-anywhere-else-again PanAsian (especially if you want the widest and best humanely available selection of vegetarian options), I'd head over to Jean's Vegetarian Kitchen at Linnsmore (between Greenwood and Coxwell). Harry, Jean's husband, started what is now Basil's and claims to have trained the chef. Better to stick with the real deal, imho.

          Ikki Sushi just opened about two weeks ago. It's on the south side, just east of Woodbine. It's a second location for this family - the first is on Kingston Road - and we had not-bad takeout from there shortly after it opened.

          And lest we forget: Relish. North side at Cedarvale. Excellent, tapas-style menu and a solid wine list. Walk if you can. Parking is at a premium.

          Apart from that, you're largely into the land of cardboard take-out pizza and Timmy's. Not bad in a pinch, but you can do much better.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Webdude

            Ikky at Danforth and Woodbine? Awesome!

            1. re: thenurse

              Yeah. It's where Mark's (sp?) diner used to be. A real improvement, and certainly welcome in da hood.

              And icky at Woodbine and Danforth? Totally describes my entire life.

              1. re: Webdude

                Thanks all for the great replies... As I said - we were thinking about moving out there... But one of our criterion is it's got to have good restos within walking distance.

                1. re: Apple

                  Funny you think that Main/D-forth is downtown, but I suppose it depends on where you're coming from!
                  I would suggest moving further south and/or west if you want restaurants with variety and within walking distance.

                2. re: Webdude

                  Icky also describes my experience with Ikki Sushi takeout from the Kingston Road branch. I've never had worse clams. Personally, I'd avoid any of their restaurants.

              2. re: Webdude

                Ikki Sushi. Aptly named.

              3. There is a spot on the west side of Main Street, just south of Danforth that looks German. I wandered into it by default one day and discovered that its kitsch and food were actually quite good. I don't know the name of it though but you can't miss it.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Zengarden

                  That's Grumble's! A well-established German deli and food shop that's been around for years. Before they moved to 260 Main St., they were well-known in the Beaches at their location on Queen east of Lee. They used to have a Santa Claus in their chimney on the roof.

                  They have a lot of German and European food products. They have deli meats and some good European potato and other salads. They even have an area in the back with tables where you and sit down and eat hot meals. They usually have yummy baked goods on display in their window that I believe they bake on premise

                  Their current location was a piano store that had been there for years and years before Grumble's moved in.

                  It's a real gem in a chow-challenged area. Thanks for mentioning it.

                  -----
                  Grumbel's
                  290 Main St, Toronto, ON M4C, CA

                  1. re: JamieK

                    The two women who run Grumble's are also a pleasure to deal with. I think their choice of location was strategic - it's right next to the dance studio that many a young girl (and a few boys) in the city frequent. And while you can make all the eating disorder jokes you want, let me tell ya - on Saturday mornings, that "bakery" (as my girls call it) is packed.

                    1. re: Webdude

                      My daughter used to go to the dance centre before Grumble's moved there. But now we go to appointments at the medical centre often and drop into Grumble's and I often think, boy I wish this place was here when we around for ballet, tap and jazz dances. I imagine now that it's a great place for dancers and parents to get great sandwiches or salads or baked goods or whatever. There was nothing when we used to hang around but I did buy a couple of neat items from the piano shop where Grumble's is now because they ran an antique business on the side. I still cherish a beautiful blue-and-white pitcher I got there.

                2. There have been a couple of discussions in the not-so recent past about restaurants in the neighbourhood. It depends on how you define walking distance. There aren't a ton of restaurants around Main, but the selection improves the further west you go towards Woodbine/Coxwell/Greenwood.

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/320151
                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/425798

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hoagy294

                    Hoagy - thanks for the links.... quite useful. Thanks so much. If anything this post has made me realize that there are so many great neighborhoods and local eats in this city.

                  2. I just had a really good lunch experience at Ikki Sushi on Danforth at Woodbine. The food was great - especially the Medium Sushi Combo ($12.95), the service was very friendly and attentive - water was refilled on a regular basis.

                    I overheard a conversation between the owner/chef and a regular customer, who told the chef that he was planning on bringing his brother and sister-in-law for dinner tomorrow night, and the chef said that he would prepare something special for them.

                    It's not the best sushi I've had in Toronto, but it's a great change from the crap that I'm used to having in my neighborhood. I will definitely return. I grabbed I take-out menu, and was pleased to find that it's open until 11 Sun-Thurs, and until 12 on Fri and Sat.

                    Strangely, it reminded me of the first time I went to Sushi on Bloor on the day that it opened - the same kind of personal attention and fresh, affordable food. Back then, there were no other good sushi places in the Annex, and now there are tons of great restaurants there. I can only hope for the same kind of trend around here. In the meantime, I'll keep spending my money at Ikki.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: abnormaldan

                      Relish is my number 1 choice - great relax atmosphere and fantastic food. Melanie's Bistro has great brunch. Bistro Camino is pretty good too. If you want to trek down to Greek town. The Bus Terminal has pretty good breakfast as well.

                    2. Hey Apple;

                      I'm curious to know whether you decided to move out here - we moved to Main & Gerrard three years ago and we really love it.

                      For restaurants, some of our favourites have been mentioned already; particularly Grumble's for lunch and baked goods (they did all the desserts for our wedding), and Cool Runnings for Jamaican. We also like to walk west on Gerrard to Michelangelo's, for old-school Italian that's pretty cheap, with great service. Just a little further down from there is McCarthy's, an Irish pub with cider on tap (no food, just drinks and a nice tiny pub with a neighbourhood atmosphere). In the same stretch of street, Today's Menu has a retail storefront now where you can pick up dinner on your way home.

                      The Fade In Cafe is just around the corner, but as mentioned in other threads, has gone downhill. There's a new espresso bar across the street, a few doors down from Cool Runnings, which will hopefully pick up the slack. Bill's Fish 'n' Chips, mentioned by someone else, has been closed for a while.

                      Leaving aside the food for a minute, let me just put in a little plug for the neighbourhood in general. We're a short walk to the subway, but the Danforth GO station is our best-kept secret; it's even closer than the subway, and gets you to Union station in 10 minutes. There's a public library just south of Main & Gerrard, a school next to that, and Centre 55 where my son goes to their excellent daycare. For sports there's Ted Reeve Arena, and a City of Toronto community centre just north of the GO station, with a pool and lots of programs. The Sobey's on the Danforth is open 24 hours, and a cheap fruit&veg vendor on the way. If the Sobey's doesn't have what you want, there's a Dominion at Danforth and Vic Park and a huge Loblaws (with garden centre and gas station) at Vic Park and Gerrard. Like I say - we love it!

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: kirstenn

                        Heidi ho Kirstenn - we did move the 'hood.. but we didn't put an offer on a house in that new development right at Gerrard and Main which is what we were contemplating at the time of my posting... though we did end up closeby! We love the neighborhood!!

                        Since we've been here (December 2007) we have found the food in the 'hood to be so-so... compared to our old nabe... (St. Lawrence Market) - so far - we've had some hits and misses...

                        Udupi Palace - dosas - holy cow - they're good!
                        Siddartha - buffet - meh - not a buffet person but it was okay
                        Upper Beach Cafe - breakfast - meh- very so so and too expensive for the price - I'd rather eat at...
                        The Tulip - breakfast - a small hike but fully delicious - cheap and cheerful
                        Bistro Camino - delicious and good value for price
                        Michelle's on the Beach - good for drinks but not for brunch
                        Il Fornello - good for middle of the road brunch with friends
                        Murphy's Law- nice local bar

                        We've walked past Michaelangelo's and often wondered if we should stop in... but we haven't seen any one in there... where is this espresso bar you speak of? We have been walking down to the Starbucks near Woodbine and Queen for our coffee fix (when we're not making it) but we would appreciate a closer alternative...

                        For grocery shopping - we have hit the 24hr Sobeys, Valumart on Danforth, No Frills at Coxwell, and BJs Supermarket in India Bazaar (our little grocery secret) In this respect, I have found the neighborhood has many viable options.

                        We've also been loving the East Lynn farmer's market on Thursdays too this summer!

                        1. re: Apple

                          Not Main & Danforth per se but since East Lynn was mentioned, be sure to check out Melanie's Bistro. Mentioned above for brunch but good anytime.

                          -----
                          Melanie's Bistro
                          1870 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C1J4, CA

                          1. re: Apple

                            > where is this espresso bar you speak of?

                            That would probably be the Mercury Espresso Bar, on Main Street just south of Gerrard, on the same side and just south of Cool Runnings. Never been there myself, but it's been mentioned on this board before.

                            1. re: Apple

                              Did you try Bibiche Bistro on the Danforth? Good food and reasonable.

                              1. re: Helen

                                I second Bibiche! It's a space so out-of-the-way that you might miss it, but it's worth a visit. Food is very old school French bistro, very tasty, and the portions are huge. Dinner for two, with wine, is about $80 and the owners are very nice.

                                1. re: ostracario

                                  The cheese cake at Bibiche Bistro should be the best that you have had and will have in your your life.
                                  VVM

                            2. re: kirstenn

                              Sadly I must report that Michelangelo's is closed. I have no idea why or if it's permanent. If anyone finds out anything I would appreciate a post.

                            3. I'll add a couple more on the Danforth:

                              Quattro Ragazze for homestyle Italian and great sandwiches. East Of Coxwell.
                              Danforth Roti - Trinidadian food. Just West of Dawes.
                              Columbos - Pizza for pick-up. East of Coxwell.
                              Danforth Market - an amazing array of West Indian/Chinese groceries. West of Dawes.

                              Marie

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: mariecollins

                                Holy cow! we're off on our honeymoon this week - but you can be sure when we get back we are going to be looking "north" versus "south" for food... I can't wait!

                                1. re: mariecollins

                                  Danforth Market is good for "opportunity" fruit- stuff which is sold by importer- wholesalers as junk and real cheap- but is finally sort of ripe and sort of tasty.- the best that you can do in Toronto and real cheap. (Sorry, I have high standards. Loblaws' fruit brings to mind Pamela Lee Anderson's boobs- large, hard and tasteless.) But you do have to know your fruit.

                                  Next door is Bistro Camino. I confess to being a regular and taking every opportunity on CH to extoll its virtues. It is my current best place to go in Toronto for a nice,very good and very reasonably priced meal. The sort of place that you can go to once a week but still go to for something special. The place is Japanese-French. I like the fish dishes particularly. Ask if the kitchen has mackeral -too low status to put on the menu, but divine in the hands of this Japanese chef. Interesting specials.

                                  Lunch deserves a special mention. Excellent soups, ($11)salmon, ($8)beef and mushroom pie, ($8)liver and onions, ($10) ground lamb cacciatore. Soup comes with the main. Dollar talent and attention, quarter prices.

                                  The dessert list is being worked on. I like the ice cream with reduced basalmic sauce($3) and the deep fried icecream with fruit sauce-compote($8). The chocolate mousse with raspberry jelly($5) is the best "sumptuous style" chocolate mousse that I ever have had. (The co- gold medallist was dry and made with bitter chocolate, in France.

                                  Ample free parking. I park in the street running north-south next to the little plaza across on the south side, just to the west. I think that the western neighbour is Canadian Tire.
                                  VVM

                                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                    Bistro Camino rocks!! Had lunch there (a destination meal) on a Saturday few weeks ago....very quiet, only one other table being served. Definitely deserves to be busier...keep Vinnie company! Only wish it was around when I lived in the area.